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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

You Are Now Coach of the Magic…

With game 2 less than 24 hours away and with Orlando coming off a game 1 beating, I’m asking my faithful KnickerBlogger readers: “What steps would you take if you were in Stan Van Gundy’s shoes?”

It’s something I’ve been thinking about, I haven’t been able to come up with a definitive answer. Should the Magic go with Nelson, who is coming off an injury but tore up Los Angeles during the season? Should the team make a better effort to crash the defensive boards? Send out JJ Redick with boxing gloves, have him cover Susha Vujacic, and let the hilarity ensue for entertainment’s sake? Or was game 1 just a fluke and the Orlando is just likely to regress back to the mean?

What would you do as the coach of the Orlando Magic?

20 comments on “You Are Now Coach of the Magic…

  1. Z

    Probably nothing.

    The Magic are better than they played in game 1. Nobody on the team has finals experience, whereas all the Lakers played in the finals last year. Plus it was in LA. Take a mulligan and go out there and try to poach game 2.

    Howard will have a more dominating impact on the rest of the games regardless of what Van Gundy does. The shooters will have to make their shots like they did against Cleveland.

    Coaches that make drastic changes from game to game look desperate and I don’t think the Magic are desperate. They just need to play the way they are capable.

  2. Owen

    I agree with Z. The Magic just need to make more shots. It’s a high variance strategy, look terrible one day, like world beaters the next. Probably the most important thing Van Gundy can do is just keep the team doing what is has done all year.

  3. ess-dog

    The Boston Globe reported that Walsh is actively looking for a sign and trade for Lee. I’m torn ’cause I like Lee, but he does have great value right now and could probably net us a #4 or 5 pick. And he will probably get 10 mil even in this market. It would be sad to see him go.

  4. Ray

    I just read that blurb too. I still want to select Curry at 8. If we can trade Lee and get a late 1st rounder or something for next year that would be great. I just would like to see us secure our point guard of the future. If its Nate than great. Give him the ball and let him start. If its not Nate than let him go and lets get a replacement already. Draft season drives me crazy. I wish it were draft night already.

  5. Ray

    I just read that blurb too. I still want to select Curry at 8. If we can trade Lee and get a late 1st rounder or something for next year that would be great. I just would like to see us secure our point guard of the future. If its Nate than great. Give him the ball and let him start. If its not Nate than let him go and lets get a replacement already. Draft season drives me crazy. I wish it were draft night already.

  6. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Does experience really matter? How many combined finals appearances did the Celts have last year? My guess is that Kobe had more than all put together.

  7. Z

    I think experience matters a lot. Last year the Celtics opened up at home, which makes a big difference. The year before the Cavs were all playing in their first finals, whereas the Spurs had all been there many times. The game was in SA and the Cavs scored just 77 points. LeBron shot 4-16. Though they were swept, in the next three games the Cavs played better and the games were closer. I think this year will be a similar case (but this year I think the Magic will actually win some of the games they play better in).

    Certainly, not all players/teams are negatively affected by a lack of finals experience; however, I think Thursday’s blowout was more a result of experience than a result of the Lakers being THAT much better than the Magic.

  8. Ted Nelson

    In the regular season, the Magic were the 11th best offense in the league. On the other hand, they were the best defense in the league. They were terrible on both sides of the ball in game 1–really embarrassing themselves–so they need to improve on both. However, I think defense is the key.
    Overall the Magic looked a step slower in Game 1, letting the Lakers dictate the game. The Lakers were getting open looks and fouls on one side, and denying the Magic on the other. The Magic did miss shots that they’ll hit on an average night, but I think that’s only part of the problem.
    So, the biggest thing I would worry about is motivation I guess. And Game 1 should be motivation enough for the Magic.

    I definitely thought that experience had something to do with Game 1, that or just wanting it more. The Celts didn’t have much Finals experience, but they were a veteran team with strong leaders.
    At the same time, I would say that the Lakers are a better team than the Magic. I don’t think it will happen, but if the Lakers bring their A Game every night I suppose they could sweep the Magic.

  9. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Finals experience seems real because great teams tend to win multiple titles in the NBA. But there are plenty examples to the contrary. Recent Celtic and Piston teams beat more experienced teams for their championships. I’ll take the better team over the more experienced one.

  10. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Btw the Orlando offense looks like one of those teams at your local park that you don’t want to be on. They look fantastic on defense. Howard is a beast. But on offense – for each turnover Dwight Howard has to stand around for 3 seconds before running back. Even when they’re moving the ball around there aren’t many open looks.

    Credit the Lakers defense as well. They are rotating so well it seems they have 6 guys out there.

  11. Owen

    Great game here, love it. Rashard Lewis isn’t missing many opportunities, while the broadcast team per usual is missing even fewer chances to talk about Kobe Bryant….

    Very interesting to see the Magic run Gortat and Howard out there at the same time, however briefly, that’s something I can’t remember seeing all season, they in fact have only played 22 minutes this year….

  12. Owen

    Wow, unreal shot by Turkoglu, one of the worst shots I have seen him put up in a while, step back fadeaway with his foot on the three point line. Nothing but net of course.

    And Redick stroked a three also…

    This is a really really good game, although the refs have put their imprint on it with some very dubious foul calls….

  13. Owen

    And Kobe, the “closer” gets stuffed by Hedo on a last second shot, my happiness is complete….

  14. Ted Nelson

    I’ve been so unimpressed with the refs all playoffs.

    I’m not saying Finals experience makes a huge difference over the course of a 7 game series (although I’m sure it doesn’t hurt), but I have to at least entertain it as part of the explanation for why Orlando came out so flat in game 1 and the Lakers came out on fire. After tonight’s game I have to believe it was something mental.

  15. jon abbey

    “This is a really really good game”

    it was close, but the first half was dreadfully played, the lowest scoring first quarter in Finals history.

  16. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Looks like Stan Van Gundy made a few adjustments. The Gortat/Howard combo, and JJ Redick for nearly 30 minutes. I thought the Gortat/Howard alignment was a little unnecessary, unless he was trying to send a message to his team about rebounding. I liked the move with Redick – and JJ got a lot of open looks. Unfortunately he had a bad shooting night.

    And it looks like they’re about to ditch Alston as well. Turkoglu ran the offense for most of the second half. Skip has shot awful this series 3- 17 so far, and the offense is sputtering in his hands. Although Orlando better find someone to bring up the ball. Between Redick and Turk, you won’t find two outmatched players athletically to bring the ball up. (Turk has to forearm the ball up the court with Ariza hounding him). I think they should start Nelson – or at least give him a try. Can’t hurt the way Alston is playing.

  17. Gorky

    You know what was amazing? The inbounds play SVG drew up at the end of regulation for Courtney Lee. Unfortunately, Hedo overthrew the pass a bit and Lee couldn’t finish.

  18. Owen

    “it was close, but the first half was dreadfully played, the lowest scoring first quarter in Finals history.”

    Yeah, missed the first half….

    The Magic had a lot of opportunities to win. Totally agree re Alston, was painful to watch how hard it was for Turk to get the ball across halfcourt and get into their sets. But Alston couldn’t hit a shot and didn’t look likely to do so.

    I was surprised to see Redick out there so much. Didn’t seem to be helping out there. He just isn’t a ballhandler, as you say, and had a horrible turnover which led to a Fisher fast break and two foul shots.

    Orlando is definitely one player away, it’s rough that Nelson isn’t healthy, because he is that player…

  19. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Gorky – after it happened I thought what stones it took to draw that up. If Hedo throws that ball a foot less the Magic wins.

    On Orlando’s side they were right there, but on the other side you can’t give up those kinds of opportunities and expect to win a 7 game series.

  20. Caleb

    The teams seem pretty close to even – the Magic’s D is way underrated – but I sure don’t see them winning 4 out of 5 at this point. They’re toast.

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